The PopCulteer
January 18, 2013

There’s an awful lot of butt-hurt going around these days. If you’re not familiar with the term, butt-hurt is derived from the way a toddler reacts when they fall while learning to walk, get up, and proclaim “my butt hurts.” The phrase denotes a childish and simplistic way of dealing with a disappointment in life.

Butt-hurt often involves a great hyperbolic wailing and gnashing of teeth, followed by posting sarcastic sayings superimposed over Gene Wilder’s photo on Facebook, or perhaps links to articles that proclaim President Obama (or whomever the object of the butt-hurt is) to be some sort of Secret King of the Space Muslim Communist Nazi Doofuses.

This gets a little annoying and tiresome for those of us who live in the real world and unfortunately, so far 2013 seems to be The Year of The Butt-Hurt. We’re going to try to deflate and diffuse a little of the butt-hurt this week with our own soothing salve.


The largest local source of butt-hurt these days seems to be over the MTV series “Buckwild.” This is a “reality” program that is going to try to duplicate the success of “Jersey Shore” in an Appalachian setting. They have chosen, much to the horror and embarrassment of many local people, to base this show in Sissonville. This has led to multiple levels of butt-hurt which we must examine.

First and foremost are the people who are mortified at the thought of a national TV audience seeing West Virginians portrayed as a bunch of attractive, young, drunken rednecks. I’m not quite sure what their problem is with this, since the only part of that description that doesn’t apply to a huge portion of West Virginians is the attractive and young part. I’ve spent my entire life in this state and while we have many brilliant, talented, and even erudite people, there’s no denying that they are vastly outnumbered by people who…aren’t.

What I’ve seen of “Buckwild” reminds me of what almost anybody with whom I went to high school would behave like if somebody pointed a camera at them and gave them money to have fun. There are many, many problems with the show, but none of them stem from this being an inaccurate portrayal of the people of West Virginia. If you live in West Virginia and don’t know anybody who acts like the kids on “Buckwild,” you must lead a very sheltered life. Walk out of your house, get in your car, drive out of the East End or South Hills, and five minutes later you’ll find plenty of people just like the kids you see on “Buckwild.”

Swiped from Mark Wolfe

The second batch of people who are butt-hurt over “Buckwild” are the folks who find the show charming, but are shocked, shocked, to find out that the producers of the show are playing fast and loose with the truth and with geographic fact. People–this is a reality show. In the Orwellian gobbeldespeak of the television industry, that means that this show is totally divorced from reality and couldn’t be further from the truth.

All reality TV is made up garbage. It’s more scripted than “CSI” or “30 Rock.” This is pure fantasy. They chose Sissonville as the setting not because they wanted to present a geographically correct travelogue of the area, but because “Charleston” sounded too sophisticated for their purposes, and “Nitro” didn’t sound “country” enough. Sissonville was picked because it’s the closest town to Charleston that has a name evocative of Hooterville.

So for people to get upset that “Buckwild” claims that Venture Lanes is in Sissonville or that Taylor Books is in the “big city” of Morgantown, calm the heck down. Just consider that a private in-joke that the producers put in there to remind us locals that “Buckwild” is completely manufactured horse crap, with no bearing on reality. And if you choose to have your intelligence insulted by watching it, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Personally, I’m avoiding “Buckwild.” Not because I don’t want to see my state disparaged, but because reality TV in general is pretty horrible and MTV reality shows, going back to “The Real World,” are the absolute bottom of a muck-filled barrel of vile, venal, poisonous, horrible TV.

Reality TV is what happens when someone looked around at what Newton Minnow called “a vast wasteland” and decided that would be the perfect place to dump toxic waste. “Buckwild” is what it is–a successor to “Jersey Shore.” That alone should be warning enough.


Much to the chagrin of about twenty-one percent of the country, President Obama was handily re-elected last November. In the two months since, the far right-wing butt-hurt has yet to subside. People who spent eight years gloating about the questionable victories of George W. Bush are so distraught over the fact that a black man, worse yet a Democrat, was elected by a majority of voters in this country that they have gone off the deep end.

I have mentioned before how folks way out there on the far right don’t quite know how to argue properly. I’ve explained that they remember and save stinging insults that are used against their heroes and then, often mindlessly and senselessly, recycle those insults and hurl them at the heroes of their political opponents. It’s really pretty embarrassing.

With the re-election of President Obama, a lot of folks have taken this one step further. They’re not satisfied using the effective, anti-President Bush insults that were the security blanket of the left during the dark ages of the Bush/Cheney years. Nope, today’s right wingers are digging into the craziest, most moronic and embarrassing left wing conspiracies from the Bush era and they’re recycling those insults against Obama.

Google “King Obama” and you’ll find thousands of images like this. Apparently right-wingers have lots of time on their hands.

I’m talking about the stuff that made most liberals wince when somebody was stupid enough to say it. Comparisons to Hitler, calling Bush “King George” or “The Emperor:” this stuff was mortifying to most liberals because it made them look like an insane and unreasonable fringe group located completely outside of the political mainstream.

And now, anybody with a Facebook account and a diverse group of friends has seen these embarrassing insults recycled into conveniently per-packaged graphic photos and/or sarcastic memes that make even less sense than they did when they were used against Bush because there’s no sense of context.

It pains me because I have friends across a wide political spectrum. I see politics as something that makes up maybe five or ten percent of a person’s life and I feel that if you can look past politics, you can connect with almost anyone on some meaningful level.

It’s just really hard to do that when the other person keeps posting pictures of a monkey in a crown hugging Hitler with the label “King Obama” on it. It gets to a point where you want to say, “Look, we have a lot in common and I really like you as a friend. But could you please quit being so bats**t crazy?”

It’s not that I have a problem with somebody disliking the President. I recently spent eight years severely disliking a President. And I can understand the deeply felt depths of the butt-hurt over this recent election. I had that myself in 2004. I honestly couldn’t conceive of anyone re-electing that administration. I seriously feared for the future of our nation. Yet we survived it. And as I like to remind my right wing friends, so will you. You just have to have a little faith in America.

But for God’s sake, can you people lighten up just a little? I mean, does every freaking Facebook post have to be something about how King Obama is going to ruin our country? Seriously, I mean can’t you say what you had for lunch or post a picture of a freaking cat or something? We understand that you hate Obama. It says so in your profile picture! Can you not talk about anything else for one freaking day?

As I heard so often from 2000 to 2008, “He won. Get over it!”

The Gun Debate

One of the hot button issues that has spurred the recent epidemic of Obama induced butt-hurt has been the issue of gun control. The debate rages on and it’s doing so in a manner that isn’t helping anybody. This is a matter where both sides of the discussion are operating from a place of hurt felt deeply within their buttocks.

The knee-jerk reaction of some people to call for a ban on assault weapons has been met with a well-rehearsed knee-jerk reaction of “You’ll pry my gun from my cold, dead hand!” What we end up with is not a meaningful discussion of how we can solve the problem of violent mass shootings and prevent or minimize future incidents. No, we just get a whole bunch of jerked knees. And jerked knees are a leading cause of butt-hurt. Most of the rest of this essay is taken from a recent Facebook rant by your PopCulteer.

A large part of the problem in discussing this issue has to do with the tens of millions of dollars in propaganda that the National Rifle Association dumps out on the political landscape to muddy the issue, and keep the gun manufacturers and sellers from having to deal with any kind of meaningful regulations. Commerce is what drives their zeal to defend the most liberal interpretation of the second amendment. They feel that the second amendment absolutely guarantees the right of any person to carry any gun they want, and that any limits imposed by the government are unconstitutional. They feel this way because regulations are bad for business.

I can respect and understand the absolutist approach that many of my friends take toward the second amendment. I get that they feel that any type of restriction of gun ownership, and for some of them that even includes registering a weapon, chips away at one of our precious rights as guaranteed by the constitution.

But I would like to point out that, if we apply that same standard of absolutism to the first amendment, then there would be no restrictions on free speech. All noise ordinances would be null and void. All you could do if a Flash Mob interrupted a church service by singing “Louie Louie” is ask them to leave. Yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater would be completely legal. The Westboro Baptist Church could go anywhere, anytime and say anything as loudly and as offensively as possible. And libel and slander would be totally legal, with no repercussions for anything said or published. If a newspaper mistakenly printed your name in conjunction with a child pornography ring, you could only ask for a retraction, and hope they printed it.

But all forms of pornography would be 100% legal anyway, so it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. If we applied NRA standards to the first amendment, television stations could broadcast hardcore porn at any time of the day. It’s all free speech, right? We can’t impinge on our first amendment rights.

We could apply that standard to other amendments, too.

The third amendment, held to NRA standards, would prohibit our armed forces from living in a house. Fourth amendment, no searches without a warrant, since “probable cause” is subjective. Fifth amendment, if it were as zealously protected as the second, would make bail illegal, forcing every criminal outside of military court to be released on his own recognizance. Plus nobody could ever be compelled to testify in a court of law if they didn’t want to.

Number six would force courts to rush trials to court within a month of someone being charged. No prosecutors or defense attorneys would be allowed any prep time. Any civil trial would have to be by jury, according to amendment seven. Number eight would again pretty much knock out bail, as well as fines and any punishment that could be deemed “excessive” or “cruel.”

Nine and ten are where the fun of absolutism kicks in. Nine states “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This is the one that puts the lie to absolutism. Your right to swing your fists ends at my nose. Maybe we need to keep this in mind when discussing the second amendment. Maybe requiring gun owners to be sane, well-trained and responsible, as the vast majority are, is okay after all.

Number ten, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This is the one where the NRA approach of absolutism, can cause a Civil War. So maybe we should try to temper things a bit, first. Okay?

Note that I didn’t suggest banning any type of gun. I’d merely like to steer the conversation back to a more pragmatic place.

We have to recognize that the NRA is only interested in the political fortunes of their industry. They have manufactured both sides of the debate over assault weapons so that they can, at some point, admit “defeat” and agree to an assault weapons ban, and say that was their big compromise in order to prevent any other effective gun control measures from being enacted. Assault weapons are a red herring. We need to talk about sensible measures to keep the wrong people from getting their hands on any gun.

Banning assault rifles makes as much sense as banning pit bulls. The problem isn’t that some people want to own something that someone else finds intimidating and dangerous.

I can sympathize with gun collectors. Face it, guns are pretty freaking cool. They look cool. Many of them are made with an impressive level of craftsmanship. And shooting them can be fun. I understand the collector’s mentality. I’ve got over a thousand action figures. I’m not comfortable telling somebody that they have too many guns. As for the types of guns…well, some folks like a heavy weapon with a lot of firepower. Some folks like muscle cars with a huge engine. And some folks like pit bulls. The type of gun, or car, or dog, is not the issue.

The problem is that certain people shouldn’t a allowed to own a dog…or a gun, of any kind.

We need to determine the most fair, yet effective, way to figure out how to identify those people and keep guns out of their hands. The NRA doesn’t want to stop ANY gun sales, so they will fight this with a variety of dishonest practices. They would rather see our society devolve to the point where everyone has to carry a gun. That would be great for their business. It would also destroy life as we know it in this country.

Rather than go down that path, we should take reasonable measures to make sure that guns are kept out of the hands of dangerous people. The gun registry and database has to be beefed up with different levels of denial, an outright ban for the most obvious menaces and a series of warnings, for individuals at risk to use a weapon in the heat of passion to commit an act of violence.

Anyone convicted of assault–misdemeanor or felony–should at least have to explain themselves to a judge or panel before being allowed to legally purchase a gun. Domestic abuse incidents should be taken into account, as well as suicide attempts. A person who is behind the trigger during more than one accidental shooting should at least be forced to undergo extra training. If a psychiatrist thinks that one of their patients is a potential menace to society, they should be able to call a number and at least put them on a “double-check” list.

A dialogue has to take place–a discussion that includes every position–to decide who should not be allowed to own guns. That discussion will get heated and controversial, but needs to remain civil. Maybe we can get a consensus on whether regulating what types of weapons can be purchased, but maybe that’s not the only solution to a complex problem.

All states need to be compelled to fully comply with, and update the database, and if that requires more funding, then it only makes sense that it be raised through a tax on ammo.

Lost in this whole debate is any discussion of restricting access to Rayguns.

What we really need is more open-minded and honest discussion, and less sarcasm, hyperbole, vilification and dumb-assery. For the last several days the tone of the debate has been mostly moronic with a touch of paranoia…on both sides. Gun advocates need to realize that many people are scared to death of guns. They are weapons, after all, and weapons are scary. Gun control advocates need to understand that there are constitutional considerations and that the second amendment is as sacred a right as the first.

Gun regulation is the most important component of any solution, but it’s not the only piece of the puzzle. We need better mental health care with more options for extreme cases, and we need to look at possible environmental or educational factors to figure out why dangerous psychopaths do what they do. We can’t do that if we’re all screaming at each other.